King’s Speech – An Independent Regulator For Football
Among the various Government Plans announced today in the King’s Speech was the intention to introduce ‘Legislation …. to safeguard the future of football clubs for the benefit of fans’.
Here is some background to this. The attempt to create a European Super League in April 2021 provoked an adverse reaction amongst most supporters. This culminated in a recognition that club owners should not be able to ride roughshod over the wishes of supporters. The government of the time initiated a Fan Led Review (FLR) to seek the views of a wide range of football stakeholders but especially football supporters.
The Review was led by Tracey Crouch, football fan and former Sports Minister. A report was produced and many of the findings were included in a Government White Paper A Sustainable Future Reforming Club Football Governance (publishing.service.gov.uk) published in February of this year.
A White Paper in itself does not create laws, but if acted upon, often forms the basis of future legislation, converting the proposals into law.
The inclusion in the King’s Speech indicates the Government’s intention to legislate. This means that proposals such as the creation of an Independent Regulator for Football, Licensing for football clubs, the right of supporters to veto actions of owners like club name, shirt colour, sale of the club’s ground, will become law.
Tracey Crouch has commented, ‘I am delighted to see legislation to establish a new independent Regulator of Football included in the King’s Speech. I am pleased that the Prime Minister, a passionate football fan himself, recognises that fans throughout the pyramid want to see the long-term financial sustainability of their clubs and have a greater say in how they are run. On the pitch, English football is admired the world over, but it is important that measures are put in place to ensure our national game is fit for the future, which is exactly what an Independent Regulator will do.’
The work being carried out in the background by Blues Trust at the time of the FLR, highlighting the situation at Birmingham City, led to us being invited to meet with Tracey Crouch and her team. At the meeting, it was clear that there was a significant alignment between our views and hers. At the time Blues supporters were in desperate need of some way of challenging the governance of the club by the then owners. We are fortunate that the recent change in ownership at Blues is bringing about a different situation and we hope that will continue for some time to come. However, it is a commonly stated fact that players/managers/owners come and go – only the club and its fans remain for ever.
This is why the Blues Trust is delighted with the news announced in the King’s Speech and the proposed legislation, for the good of football in general, for those clubs less fortunate than us still dealing with poor owners and governance and as a back stop should we the club/fans ever find ourselves back in the situation we were in prior to the recent takeover.
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